Leona Lewis’s sophomore effort Echo has, on the bright side, a few more memorable songs than her debut effort Spirit. On the down side, the songs on the whole still lack that special something that will allow me to stand up and take notice of them. Most of the songs here also see Ms Lewis slurring out the words – if you have heard her on her cover version of Snow Patrol’s Run, you will know I mean here. I find the whole effect more irritating than charming, so for me, I hope this isn’t going to be a regular habit on her part.
Her first single, Happy, isn’t the strongest track on the album. In my opinion, the best songs are I Got You, with its very catchy chorus and dramatic violins; the Halo rip-off My Hands with its very annoying chorus that just won’t go away; and Alive with its cathedral-like vocal crescendos. However, the problem with even the best songs on this album is that they are very clichéd examples of works by overexposed songwriters. There is no mistaking which song is written by Ryan “Repeat That Phrase Non-Stop, Okay?” Tedder if you listen to this album, for example.
And unfortunately, for Ms Lewis, the clichéd elements of these songs had been done by other artists such as Beyoncé. Ms Lewis has been beaten to the punch, in other words, and fairly or unfairly, she comes off here as someone who has to settled for other artists’ sloppy seconds. Echo is an accurate title for this album, but not in the way that Ms Lewis may intend it to be.